At the holidays, it’s tempting to take every aspect of our lives to the max. We redecorate our homes, agonize over the perfect gift, and spend far more time in the kitchen than we would ordinarily all in the name of making the holidays special. The frenzy can be fun, but it can be incredibly stressful too.
I often fall for the temptation that in order to create the best possible holiday experience, I need to choose the fanciest decorations, buy the most unusual gifts, and above all, bake the most over-the-top holiday desserts. Although fancy desserts have their place, the majority of the time, the best, most loved desserts are the simplest and the homiest: a pan of warm brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and of course, homemade ice cream.
Instead of stressing over pulling a sensitive chocolate soufflé out of the oven at the opportune moment, speak right to guests’ hearts with a dessert option that is far less stressful and likely to be preferred anyway, like this DIY ice cream sundae bar.
A key to keeping stress manageable at the holidays is to prepare dishes ahead of time. Not only is homemade ice cream the ultimate make-ahead dessert, it is also quite possibly the easiest! My favorite vanilla ice cream requires only four ingredients that are likely in your kitchen right now, and thanks to the KitchenAid® Ice Cream Maker Attachment, churning the ice cream is completely hands-off!
Most ice cream makers bear the tragic flaw of being enormous, a serious issue if you have limited cupboard space. I love that the KitchenAid® Ice Cream Maker is compact and fits right onto my KitchenAid® Stand Mixer.
The recipe for the vanilla ice cream base couldn’t be easier. Simply stir together cream, milk, sugar, and pure vanilla extract. Be sure you choose a good quality vanilla because the ice cream has so few ingredients, you’ll truly taste it in the end. Then, chill the mixture in the refrigerator completely (at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight).
Once the ice cream base has chilled, simply pour it into the Ice Cream Maker Attachment, lock the Stand Mixer into place, and set it to low speed. In 10 to 15 minutes, you’ll have thick, creamy vanilla ice cream.
After performing a few “quality checks,” force yourself to freeze the ice cream for when guests arrive. Then, when you are ready to serve, set out the ice cream, lots of bowls and spoons, and a variety of ice cream sundae toppings. Crushed gingersnaps and peppermints add a fun holiday twist; crowd favorites like crushed chocolate sandwich cookies are a must; and more unusual toppings like chocolate-covered espresso beans or shredded coconut are fun for the more adventurous.
Add hot fudge, caramel sauce, and whipped cream to the mix, and you’ll have a holiday dessert that will be gobbled up more quickly than any fussy soufflé. The best part? You’ll be able to relax and enjoy it too!
Be sure to share your take on this Holiday Ice Cream Sundae Bar with us on Instagram using #MadeWithKitchenAid for a chance to be featured.
Easy Vanilla Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart
For ice cream
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 cup milk
3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
For topping suggestions
Peanut butter or other candies
Crushed chocolate, vanilla, or chocolate mint sandwich cookies
Freeze the KitchenAid® Ice Cream Maker Attachment for at least 24 hours before starting the recipe.
In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of the cream with the sugar and heat over medium, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the remaining heavy cream, milk and vanilla extract. Transfer to an airtight container and chill in the refrigerator completely (at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight).
Once chilled, attach the Ice Cream Maker to the KitchenAid® Stand Mixer. Churn on low speed until frozen and creamy, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, place toppings into individual serving bowls for guests to access. Scoop ice cream into dishes, then allow guests to add any desired toppings. Enjoy immediately.
*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*